Alternative Office Space

J.A. Konrath says that writers who utilize Starbucks are mere wanna be’s, but speaking as a writer who sometimes grows weary of the same old walls of her home office, I say,

“God bless Starbucks.”

I would also like to lay a round of blessings on my local library too because I have logged a number of writing hours there – where the wireless is free and, mostly, reliable.

I am not certain what makes Starbucks the particular domain of “wanna be” writers. The paying for Internet or the fact that there is a certain amount of “Hey, look at me. I’m writing. Ask me what I am writing!! Nope, it’s a novel.” Silent reverence to follow after polite inquiry.

I just like that someone else is making my tea for me and on rare occasions there is a baked delectable that might not give me a tummy ache I can treat myself to. Nothing sinister or poser there, right?

Now that winter is over (let’s all knock as much wood as we can reach, okay?), I need a change of scenery for my inattention to the world at large. I really am not focusing on the environment when I write although at some level I am aware it is not my house. 

And that is the point. To be somewhere like a normal person with a job. Having a career you can do in the comfy of your snuggly bathrobe is wonderful, but sometimes, a person needs to be out in the world even if you aren’t really totally aware of it.

Soon the deck will be done and I can add it to my list of alternative office space, but in the meantime, don’t diss me because I like to put on clothes and go write at the local coffee shop once in a while.

18 responses to “Alternative Office Space

  1. A change of scenery is good for anyone! I don’t typically bring my laptop out of the house (unless we’re travelling overnight and I bring it to a hotel), but I’ve been known to use the quiet of a library reference room to get non-computer work done.

  2. If I had a laptop, I’d probably be over at Center House blogging, where the wireless is free and the people are “interesting.” But I don’t. I could blog on my Google phone, but I’m not that adept at texting yet.

  3. I pretend like I hate SBs, but you can find me there from time to time.

    Also, I would email this to you, but I don’t have your address! I was on your blog while you were on my blog. Who needs real life friends when your internet ones are totally in tune like that?
    I know what you mean though. I felt like my life was happening in a computer screen, so I started Wednesday Spaghetti. I think I totally could have gone on forever with little to no human contact.

  4. I can’t write seriously with lots of traffic in and out. (I requested a remote cubicle when I worked in an office.) I couldn’t write a decent blog entry at a Starbucks, let alone a chapter of my book!

    • I get lost in the words whether I am writing or reading. I used to blog at the Starbucks at the grocery but carrying a Macbook is bad for my shoulder, so I am an “organic” writer now. Just notebook and pen.

      How is the book coming? You should blog about that. I’d love to read about your progress.

  5. I think writing wherever and whenever you can is what most writers want to do. And if that happens to be sipping something in a Starbucks, well, that’s just someone’s personal choice.

    I know I for one don’t do things like that hoping to be asked what I’m writing. I’m generally hoping to be left alone, much like when I wrote on the train. No one bugged me; I was able to focus on the work. It was quite refreshing, actually.

    • I don’t pay much attention to people in general when I am out, so if anyone is curious, I wouldn’t know. I am a bit people-blind I’m afraid. If someone were to inquire, I would tell them. I like to talk about what I am doing (obviously) and I think most writers will talk about their work as long as you don’t interrupt them.

      I can’t really write (as I can’t read either) when there is motion.

  6. I have occasionally taken my laptop to Panera, a sandwich-soup-coffee shop. The internet is free there. I don’t stay much more than an hour and would give up the table if the place got busy. I go during off hours.

  7. On one or two occasions where I’ve had need to use wireless at a Starbucks in the US, it wasn’t free. I had to buy “time” through a provider (I think it was T-Mobile). I wasn’t writing, rather, it was job-related. I typically didn’t have to stay more than an hour.

    I found it interesting, though, that, regardless of what time I arrived, there were always other laptop/notebook people there ahead of me. And they were monopolizing the tables near the AC power outlets.

    So, to UB’s point, the business model could work if Starbucks was getting a percentage of the wireless access action from T-Mobile. But they would have to be pro-active about cutting off power to the wall outlets in the seating area in order to maximize income.

  8. I’m not convinced that people writing at Starbucks want to be approached and queried about what they’re doing. Is that true? I feel kind of bad for Starbucks. They’ll sell one cup of coffee and have to give up a table for hours and hours. It can’t be a good business model in the long run.

    • I think some people write in public to cultivate their aura, but I just like to get out of the house. Living outside town, I could easily (and have) gone days without venturing farther afield than my own yard and in the winter, it’s worse.

  9. It is indeed nice to venture out and pen some thoughts beyond the normal 4-walls that usually enclose me. Maybe not Starbucks, since I support local coffee shops, but the same idea.

    Be well & good cheers !

    • I had a mom/pop coffee shop back in Des Moines that I frequented. They were terrific and they were so kind to my late husband at a time when most people gave him funny looks and steered clear. Alas, they were done in by a Starbucks opening nearby.

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